WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is signaling support for bipartisan Senate legislation that would reduce prison sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders.
Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday that the bill is “a good step” toward striking a balance in sentencing such offenders.
The legislation would give judges the discretion to give sentences that are less than federal mandatory minimums in some cases. It would eliminate mandatory life sentences for three-time, nonviolent drug offenders, reducing those minimum sentences to 25 years.
The federal prison population has exploded since 1980, in part because of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Yates said the current system is costly, affects families and contributes to loss of confidence in the justice system.
House lawmakers have introduced similar legislation.